Emasculated Boston Red Sox Search For Answers Behind the Plate
The outlook isn't brilliant for the Local 9 these days.
The Sox have weathered a first month of the season filled with injuries, ineffectiveness, and all other manner of "suckitude," and have surprisingly come out of it with an 11-12 record.
They have beaten up on the dregs of the AL—thank God for doormats—going 9-4 against the Royals, Jays, O's, and Rangers, while running up a less than impressive 2-8 record against the Rays, Yanks, and Twins. What's surprising is not that there have been issues, but what they are.
We all know about the Ortiz-Tito-Lowell love triangle, the injuries to Ellsbury and Cameron, and the general anemia of the Sox offense, but the pink elephant in the room is really the catching situation.
Plain and simple, Victor Martinez has been about as impressive on the field as what I left in the toilet this morning. He's hitting .247 with an OBP of .301 through 20 games as catcher and DH, has hit only one home run, and has five RBI. Added to that is the fact that he is 1-for-27 in catching runners, and has never been the strongest defensively or as a signal caller.
On the other side of the coin is the guy who still wears the "C" for the Red Sox.
Jason Varitek is the highest paid backup/personal catcher (for Josh Beckett) in the majors, and he has earned it. He has been the team's rock for the past eight seasons and has led them to two World Series titles.
During the past two seasons he has been much maligned for his lack of offense. Even though he has started hot both times, he eventually wore down (he hit .239 with 13 HR and 38 RBI in the first half last year, and .157/1/13 in the second). At this point, however, he is flourishing in the backup role. Without the wear and tear his body has taken as a backstop each day, he has hit .323 with four home runs and eight RBI.
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